Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General  Program Description

 
 

Insider Info

dotClassics degrees are usually centered on the language, literature and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Some schools study other areas as well, like North Africa, Crete and Sicily.

Students examine various aspects of classical societies. These include religion, art, architecture, literature and philosophy. They also study the languages of these civilizations. Be prepared to learn Latin and Greek.

But what can you do with a classics degree?

"A liberal arts major, whether in archeology, classics, English, history or whatever, does not prepare you for a [specific] career. It just gives you an education," says Paul Wallace. He is a classics professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York. "That is not to say that a liberally educated person is employment-hindered."

Law, journalism, medicine, archeology and teaching are just a few areas that may call for a classics background.

Wallace advises classics students to consider graduate school to achieve a more definite goal.

So what should high school students pondering a degree in classics focus on now?

"Courses that emphasize reading and writing," suggests Jane Phillips. She is a classics professor at the University of Kentucky. "[Also], courses in cultural diversity [and] courses in critical and analytical thinking."

Phillips says that an inquisitive mind, an interest in the Greco-Roman world, a wide range of reading interests and an enthusiasm for cultural diversity are the typical traits of a star classics student.

"Obviously, language skills and social studies are helpful," says Jeremy Rossiter. He is a professor with a university history and classics department. "Good English-language skills are essential."

Participating in an archeological dig might be both fascinating and a great background in understanding the classics, according to Wallace.

Classics graduates come away with some important skills. "Students will have an ability to research and to assess material, to present it in a clear and logical fashion, to think critically about ideas and issues," says Gwyneth Lewis, a classical studies instructor.

"All students will have had to come to terms with very different cultures and different ways of thinking and will thus, I hope, have increased their openness to other cultures."


Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Find more information related to employment opportunities

Classical and Medieval History
From the Library of Congress

Vatican Museums
Check out some great classical art

Liberal Arts in the Work World
Read more about what a liberal arts education can offer

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.